Monday, February 2, 2015

Napalm Death at the Gramercy Theatre

Mitch Harris and Mark "Barney" Greenway
Napalm Death formed in 1981 in Meriden, England, and helped define the extreme metal subgenre of grindcore. Birthed from the marriage of hardcore punk and death metal, grindcore is a fast and noisy subgenre that produces a grinding effect through heavily distorted, down-tuned guitars, pummeling blast beats and virtually incomprehensible growls and shrieks. No original members remain in Napalm Death, but the lineup of vocalist Mark "Barney" Greenway, guitarist Mitch Harris, bassist Shane Embury and drummer Danny Herrera has remained consistent since 1991. Napalm Death's 15th studio album, Apex Predator - Easy Meat, was released on January 27, 2015.

At the Gramercy Theatre tonight, Napalm Death lived up to its 34-year reputation. In an era where bands try to outdo each other, this was about as extreme as music can get. Although a few moments were slowed down to riff-based death metal speed, the band did not rest here comfortably. Most of the set operated at two velocities, either as fast as humanly possible or approaching the speed of light. The band's recorded music was meant for listening; the live versions were meant for obliteration. The short length of the songs ("You Suffer" lasted less than two seconds), helped prevent mass heart arrests or the implosion of the venue. As for the music, itself, the title of the band's opening song, "Discordance," defined the direction for the rest of the set. This was a mad, brutal and abrasive metal concert.

Visit Napalm Death at www.napalmdeath.org.